A bill to increase the land tax-the most controversial of all issues since the end of the Sino-Japanese War-passed through both houses during the thirteenth Diet; and thus the conflict between policies of ‘enriching the Nation and strengthening the armed forces’ versus ‘lightening the people’s burdens’, which had been raging ever since the first Diet between the hanbatsu Governments and the political parties, was for the time being extinguished. Of the calls for ‘retrenchment of Government spending’ and ‘reduction of taxation’, which had been the main policies of the popular parties during the early sessions of the Diet, the first had completely disappeared since the ninth Diet. The fact that the expenditure budget of the first Okuma Cabinet (the Kenseito Cabinet) was accepted as it stood by its successor, the second Yamagata (hanbatsu) Cabinet, shows most clearly that the parties had entirely lost interest in ‘retrenchment of government spending’. Even the Kenseihonto, which opposed the land tax increase bill in the thirteenth Diet and continued to call for tax reductions, could not oppose the expenditure budget which it itself had drawn up. The circumstances of the time seem clearly indicated by the criticism of the Kenseihonto made by the Mainichi Shinbun:

The responsibility for inflating government expenditure and rapidly increasing the burdens falling on the people does not rest entirely with the Jiyuto. The Shinpoto, given that this expenditure bill had been drawn up during the period of the Okuma Cabinet, could not demand its reduction, and there was not even anybody strongminded enough to support our argument that military administration should be streamlined.1